In the anguished aria “Do not utter a word, Anatol,” from Samuel Barber’s “Vanessa,” the soprano Lauren Flanigan, a vocal powerhouse, gave such a visceral performance that you stopped thinking about acoustics. Something similar happened when the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato sang the tender song “Take Care of This House” from Bernstein’s musical “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
Though her voice is lyric and light, her sound is so plush and penetrating and her singing so direct that you are drawn into her artistry.
–Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, November, 2009
The night was also about marketing … but the real focus was clear by the end: good singing. This point was literally brought home by Joyce DiDonato. Singing a song from Leonard Bernstein’s 1976 musical, “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” DiDonato (who made her NYCO debut in 2002) is exactly the type of American singer City Opera exists to showcase. From Regina Resnik to Beverly Sills to Flanigan City Opera has been a place where young American artists have grown and flourished. The name of the Bernstein number was “Take Care of This House.” Gorgeously sung, with a crystal tone and clear diction, DiDonato (who will sing Rosina at LA Opera’s “The Barber of Seville” next month) cut through the pomp and pageantry and reminded the black-tie crowd that opera, at its core, is about expressive singing. You didn’t need the supertitles to know exactly what she was articulating: for the next generation of American opera artists, take care of this house. Indeed.
–James C. Taylor, LA Times, November, 2009
In Concert, Damnation of Faust, London Symphony Orchestra
Fortunately, Marguerite’s music was sung ideally by Joyce DiDonato, a spontaneous-seeming artist who has clearly considered the impact of every note she produces, colouring and weighing them so that the climax of her second aria produced the kind of rare impression where one simply wants to forget all other music and live only in what one is hearing at that moment.
–Michael Tanner, The Spectator, September, 2009
Joyce DiDonato as Marguerite was superb, whether ecstatically in first love, pining for her absent lover, penitent and condemned to death for causing the death of her mother, or merely sitting silently as a soul experiencing redemption whilst the chorus of seraphim sing their final chorale, she gave a performance of the utmost conviction..
–Serena Fenwick, Musical Pointers, September, 2009